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well, if you know anybody else who also rides, send them here -- we got great coverage. it's not like bikers love their bikes more than life itself. i doubt anyone will even notice. leading the pack in motorcycle insurance. now, that's progressive. call or click today. aarrggh! but i'm still stubbed up. [ male announcer ] truth is, nyquil doesn't unstuff your nose. what? [ male announcer ] alka-seltzer plus liquid gels speeds relief to your worst cold symptoms plus has a decongestant for your stuffy nose. thanks. that's the cold truth! right now on "andrea mitchell reports" north korea defies the world. >> the actions of north korea are a threat to regional peace in security and national peace and security, and they are not acceptable. they will not be tolerated, and
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they will be met with north korea's increasing isolation and pressure under united nations sanctions. >> they represent a serious threat to the united states of america. we've got to be prepared to deal with that. >> was kim jung un's first nuclear test an attempt to upstage tonight's state of the union address? >> we'll find out everything i've got to say tonight. take time to enjoy the great weather. >> with an audience of gun victims in the chamber, the president's primary focus tonight will be jobs and the economy. >> he will demonstrate concretely how we have to invest in manufacturing, making the united states a magnet for job growth, preparing our work force and making sure that if you work hard, that you can earn a good living, and he will lay out very specifically how we want to accomplish that. >> double rebuttal. will the divided republican response tonight help the gop find its voice?
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and who will be the next pope? the political jockeying begins in rome, but the cardinals had better hurry up. steven colbert sees a window of student. sfroo we could van entire month with no infallible person on planet earth. there will be no rules. it will be like a catholic free for all. passing out p ze dispensers full of birth control pills. using the lord's name's in vein, coveting thy neighbor's wife, killing anybody you want. it will be like being a presbyterian. good day. i'm andrea mitchell live in washington. the president will be putting the economy front and center in tonight's state of the union address, but a nuclear test from a growing threat overseas has foreign policy back in the spotlight. joining me now for our daily fix, chris calizza, managing editor of post politics.com, and mike allen, politico's chief white house correspondent. welcome both, chris.
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the timing of this -- in terms of the -- what north korea might be doing. we've got the south korean inaugural coming up february 25th. the state of the union tonight. the president still will speak tonight about north korea. his focus is on the economy and his outline for the budget plans. >> first of all, i generally believe certainly in domestic politics that in terms of teaming and that's probably true. we expabded it to the global state. i will say senior advisor to the president earlier today said, look, north korea was going to be in this speech anyway. yes, the president will address it. you're right. ultimately this is a speech that is focused on the economy. the president has gone a little bit wayward. i think of his own choosing to talk about immigration, gun rights. in some ways the gun rights issue is thrust upon him by what happened in connecticut late last year. i think this is an attempt for him to refocus both himself and
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his party and to be honest republicans on the challenges that lay ahead many terms of spending, debt, how to get the unemployment rate down from 17.9%. which is the ultimate challenge of his second term, and i think how his legacy will begin to be shaped. that depends much on how the economy does or does not improve in his second term. >> mike allen, in talking to key democratic senators who have been talking to the president about all of this, they say that he is willing to commit to some entitlement cuts. that he is going to show some leg in terms of what he will do. he still wants a deal and thinks one is possible, but this is the tough it's part of what they're trying to achieve up there. they're making progress in a bipartisan way. the fiscal deadlines are the real obstacles. >> that's really true, andrea. here's a simple way to see how serious the president is about entitlements, to see how much leg he is going to show, and
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that is how specifically does he have his own party, does he ask democrats to do difficult things. if he says republicans needs to do these six things and then if he says democrats, i'm going to talk to my own party here, these are tough times. we need to make tough choices. these problems are manageable. we're going to have to change on these three things, that will show both that the president is serious about doing something but also that he wants to leave the door open for some sort of bigger deal. andrea, in the run up to this speech, we've been hearing from the president doesn't leave a lot of room for a deal. he has been bashing republicans because he rightly said i tried working with the republicans. they don't want to work with me. this morning speaker boehner and -- have a breakfast with television anchors and correspondentses. he said he doesn't think that the president has the gouts make tough schoisz. that's not someone that sounds like you're going to make a deal
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with. >> at the same time the president jean sperling from the white house economic council said that the president does believe that there have to be some entitlement cuts. he that issed to joe scarborough today. i think they're trying to reserve some running room here for real negotiations, and i have been told mike and chris that democrats on the hell think that the senate democrats at least think that john boehner is ready to make a deal for all the tough talk going into this. >> he is being outflanked by eric cantor, and he is ready to negotiate. >> i think the problem, though, andrea, is it's two-fold. first john boehner has said publicly i'm not getting into any more one-on-one negotiations with the president. you know, maybe is he going to do a broader negotiation, but ultimately it's hard to imagine that statement -- adding to john boehner running for a deal. second well, saw this with the fiscal cliff. john boehner being ready to cut a deal or trying to position himself to cut a deal does not mean that a deal can pass the house, and that's the fundamental problem here.
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president obama does not have a foil on the republican side. he does not have someone that he can deal with. mitch mcconnell maybe, but, remember, mitch mcconnell is up for re-election and is worried about a primary in 2014. you know, when we talk about the possibility of a big deal, i think boehner has been weakened by what happened with the fiscal cliff. mcconnell, i don't think, is fundamentally predisposed to do anything. particularly if it includes raising tacks. so who does he make a deal with? who can deliver the votes? >> and in fact, the senate democrats who are talking about the republicans in the senate who now are a little frightened by the election results and perhaps are looking for ways to come up with solutions, they know that the problem is, mike allen, in the house. the other thing, of course, that's going to be very emotional and send very strong signals is the presence in the chamber of all of these victims, from gabby giffords to the parents from chicago with the first lady. all of these victims of gun
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violence. >> that's right. we saw earlier this week from gabby giffords new ad, a commercial with her voice. again, it's a different track than we heard from her, and she says very powerful words. take it from me about the immediate to get gun control, but, of course, chris and andrea, i think you'll agree that they're the same hurdles there, mad to the fact that the senate is going to take up a broader -- they also said they're going to wait for the senate to do anything that makes it much harder. the administration is very cognizant of the fact that the emotion over guns will dissipate, and they need to do that quickly during. during the republican response from senator marco rubio of florida, we're going to hear him talk in optimistic terms and not just bash the president, but talk about what the middle -- about what washington can do for the middle class. we're going hear a little bit
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about the marco rubio family story we've heard. his roots in cuba. he is going to talk about his family as an example of american exceptionalism, and he is going to broaden it and talk about republican ideas. i think he doesn't want to be hit with the idea that this is a rubio response. not the republican response. andrew, something else the republicans are doing for the first time. earlier tonight around 6:00 or 7:00 marco rubio is going to tape his response in spanish so that spanish language stations can play his response immediately after the president and not wait in that little intermission there usually is. that's a way to get a little bit of a leg up. >> rubio is working very closely. i mean, it's two steps forward, one step back i'm told, but rubio has been working very closely with this bipartisan group of senators to try to work on immigration. keep your eye on rubio not just tonight but going forward. thank you both. mike allen, great to see you. chris, as well. >> and andrea, excuse me, watch for whether or not the president mentions marco rubio.
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it's going to be so fascinating. does he say his name ahead of the response? >> that would be very interesting, indeed. thanks for that. mike allen, chris, as always. meanwhile, the u.n. security council today met and quickly condemned unanimously north korea's nuclear test and also threatened further sanctions, but so far pyongyang has defied all international pressure. joining me now is professor viktor todd with georgetown university. also the former director for asian affairs at the national security council at the white house. and the author of the impossible state. north korea past and future. it is an impossible state as far as american policy is concerned. i'm told now that secretary kerry was alerted last night around 11:00 this was suspected. then it was confirmed later. spent the night making calls, reaching out to the south koreans, the japanese. has not connect yet at least as of this hour with the russian foreign minister, who is traveling. he has talked to although others. south korea is importantly the president of the security council, so the foreign minister
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is there in new york and has spoken now. what can be done sng. >> well, it's a good question, andrea. i think we've been through this so many times now, and we know what the next steps are. the u.n. security council resolution perhaps this time, more can be put on the saekzs list, and all this may help to degrade the program, but we don't have the long-term answer, which is how you stop it. >> let's talk technically about what's happened. first of all, a number of worrying things. the size of this explosion, at least according to initial intelligence at the director of national intelligence is saying that the original -- the initial seismic readings are pretty tough. >> right. i think from what i've seen perhaps the seismic signature is double what it's been in the past, which would give you a sense that it was essential a higher yield explosive. the north korean statements are that it is higher yield and it was a smaller device. we don't know whether or not that's true or not, but if it is true that's what we don't want to see, which is lighter, smaller weapons that have a
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higher yield. >> just to trabz late, we're talking about lighter, smaller weapons which could be put on the missiles that they have already tested. they've had a successful test in launching a satellite into orbit in december, and that means a weapon that has -- a weapon that can be put on a missile potentially that has the range to reach the western united states. >> i think that's right. i know there are some who would say we don't have to worry about it because they're not at that stage yet, but the reality is they may not be at that stage, but there's nothing to stop them. there's nothing stopping them from moving in that direction. it could happen. as gatsz said a couple of years ago, it could happen within five years. >> the former secretary of defense. you know this from having negotiated with them. they have been very, very difficult to negotiate with because fwrae to something and as susan rice was saying, what they did today was in direct violation of their commitment to the regional six-party talks. >> yes. i think that's right. that's always the frustration. you don't want to deal with them. when you do deal with them, the deals are eventually broken, and i think for the chinese this is particularly frustrating because
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they're always the ones that are looked to to try to sanction the north koreans, and, yet, no matter how many warnings they give the north koreans, the more the north koreans go ahead and do these tests. >> this was very much in your face. according to chinese announcements today, if you look at the longitude and latitude, this was about 40 miles from their border in that panhandle area. this is right near their border. it is exactly in defiance of what beijing told them not to do. does china now do the ultimate and take really strong sanction measures against their assets? >> right. this is the big question is where is china's red line, and one hopes that it was crossed this time. in addition to all the things you mentioned, andrea, the other thing is that the north koreans did this on chinese new year. in my experience in six-party talks the time that the chinese got the most emotional was when the north koreans were doing things that then pushed that into working during the chinese new year holiday, which is a big holiday in china. i imagine they're pretty upset right now. >> this is what susan rice had
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to say today. >> north korea's continued work on its nuclear and missile programs seriously undermines regional and international peace and security and threatens the security of a number of countries, including the united states. >> now, you've got the south korean inaugural on february 25th. the state of the union tonight, as you point out the chinese new year, and there's another problem. we don't know yet whether this was plutonium device, which is what they've done in the past, or uranium. tell us what would be the significance if now it shows that it was uranium. >> the plutonium program, as far as -- they have a fixed amount of plutonium they developed from an old broken down reactor. it's been something they were purr seeing the last three or four years, and it if this is a uranium test, we'll know from it initially, it will take them to a whole new level because they can produce a lot more nuclear weapons based on uranium than they could with plutonium, and increase the proliferation risk
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exponentially. >> do we have to be concerned about the new south korean government and how they will respond and whether this could lead to the nuclearization of the peninsula? >> well, i think we certainly have to worry about whether the new south korean government is going to take a hard or soft line stance towards the north. i think that given that this is right in their face, they will take a harder line, and there they have to just coordinate closely with the united states and with other parties on the security council to insure that everybody has the same message going to north korea. >> bottom line, do you think this is going to be another case of empty rhetoric from the u.n., angry words, no effective action, and this young leader is going off in a very tough direction, proving that he is the biggest dog in town? >> i certainly hope not. i mean, i think with the rocket test last december, successful rocket test and with what looks like the successful nuclear test, we are really crossing a new threshold in terms of the
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security threat posed by north korea. not just to regional neighbors, but to the united states, and so i think the administration here as well as in the other countries really have to get serious. >> thank you very much. wish we didn't have to meet like this. every time it's bad news. >> and coming up next, a state of the union preview with white house communications director jennifer. what new york city police commissioner ray kelly wants to hear tonight from the president about controlling gun violence. stay with us all day for coverage leading up to tonight's state of the union special. prime time coverage starting tonight at 8:00 p.m.
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>> some are already reporting that we'll be subjected to another littany of left wing professionals with plenty of red meat for the president's base. i sure hope not. the campaign is over. and the fact is if the president plans to accomplish anything good for the country in the coming months he will have to go through a republican-controlled house. >> senator mitch mcconnell, of course, already giving a cold shoulder to the president even before he gets to capitol hill tonight to give his speech. >> looks like a beautiful day there today. >> in february, yes. >> a rare day in february. it's a rare day when the president goes to the hill and gets a warm reception already mitch mcconnell is basically saying, you know, put up or shut up. what is the president's approach? what is his goal tonight with the speech?
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>>. >> improved the economy. and that's what you'll hear him talking about. i don't think that fighting for the middle class and taking steps to create jobs is what people think is a liberal idea or conservative idea. we do know it's an idea that americans are very focused on and support and, you know, the inaugural president talked about his belief that the middle class has entered economic growth in order to have sustained economic growth you have to have -- they'll have initiative that is are designed to do that. they'll be in the areas of things like manufacturing and infrastructure, some education reform proposals, and some energy that will also help create jobs. these are very commonsense initiatives. they're things that certainly have had a lot of bipartisan
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support in the past, and we're hopeful that we've started to make progress in working with congress and getting some things done and we're hopeful that they'll take this idea seriously. >> will they be paid for? will he propose ways to pay for his proposals? >> yes, yes. everything -- every initiative that is in the speech is paid for. it will not add a dime to the deficit. >> and what about cutting the deficit? jean spurling told joe scarborough that the president knows that he has to propose something. he has to make some proposals on entitlements. is he going to be that specific tonight? >> well, he has a specific -- we have a proposal that is on the table from the fiscal talks that we had with congress that has spending cuts that does do some entitlement reforms as well as raising revenue by closing loopholes to the -- that's still very much on the table. the president thinks, well, we
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think creating jobs -- he definitely thinks he is committed to deficit reduction and thinks that this is a drag on the economy too. if we don't deal with it and he is very committed to wanting to do it. we need a partner as some people like to say in december, and so we need a congress that's willing to work with us, but we do think that while congress is working on the larger piece that they should turn off the sequester for a few months, whatever time is needed in order to work on this bigger project, and that, you know, you shubt -- the economy shouldn't be punished in order to do that. that's the steps that we have to take in the shorter term, but over the longer term that we get a real deal done, that reaches, you know -- achieved $2 trillion in deficit reduction. the president wants his proposal to get to the floor. >> in terms of afghanistan, we are told that the president is
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iffing to say that 34,000 of the 66,000 troops would be coming back by this time next year. this is on track presumably to withdraw all combat forces by the end of 2014. is that basically the timetable? >> that's going to allow the president and i think i can -- as you know, we've confirmed that he will announce the 34 thousands number tonight, but beyond that, i'll leave it to him to address. >> okay. jennifer, thanks for joining us on state of the union preview day. good to see you. >> coming up next, we're live in rome as new details are emerging about the pope's retirement plan and who will be his successor. more reaction also on his surprise application next on "andrea mitchell reports." [ male announcer ] wow. a brave choice. okay, focus. think courage. think shaun white. think how perfect they'll be for outdoor crafts. mr. white. [ male announcer ] they're good for circulation.
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joining me now from rome chris jansing, host of "januarys and company" and nbc's chief foreign correspondent richard engel, and with us today veteran foreign correspondent keith miller, who covered the vatican for decades, and he joins us from miami. first to you, chris jansing. as you're hearing more details about the arrival or beginning of the conclave of cardinals, what are you expecting? who are the front runners? this does have sort of the feel of politics even if it is supposedly a spiritual event. >> yes. i mean, they say it's a political and excommunication is what happens if you are a cardinal and you leak anything that's going on inside the conclave. that's not to say that there isn't politics, that will aren't certain people that have their favorites. we did talk today to spokesman for the vatican, and they're working all these details up right now. exactly when this is going to happen, but they want to do it
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sooner rather than later after the pope stepdz down because what they don't want to happen is that runs into the easter season, so i think it's possible that the cardinals would all gather as soon as march 1st we know that the pope is stepping down on february 28th. as to who the front runners are, there's an old saying here, whoever the frontrunner is, just assume that that is not going to be who actually ends up being the pope. i will say this, there is a lot of excitement about the possibility that it will be another non-traditional event. would it be somebody from africa? could it be somebody from latin america? latin americans, about 42% of the total worldwide catholic population. that's where a lot of people are focussing their interesting, andrea. >> richard engel, there's one very unlikely choice it would be an american because of the position of the united states within the world of catholicism. it would be more likely to be someone who is more traveled, has more language facility. of course, the cardinal in
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canada is perhaps the most proficient linguist of all of the cardinals. >> it seems very unlikely that it would be an american, that people i have spoken to almost say that is not a possibility at all, but who knows really? it's really anybody's guess. what we've been hearing just talking to the people who have come to rome, who have been coming to visit the vatican, is that they hope that the new pope will bring more energy, that it will be someone junger, more dynamic, who can reinvigorate the church and obviously this is a time when there's great sad ands great confusion, but a lot of people will tell you, look, this pope didn't capture the hearts of a lot of young people. he was not the most care iz matic, and he did not draw the enormous crowds that his predecessor did, and there is a feeling that catholicism is in danger and that they need someone who can give it a push. i think especially the people i
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have been talking to as an opportunity to do just that. >> and keith miller, you are such a veteran pope watcher. we have never seen anything like this in more than 700 years. what kind of health issues do you think played a role in the pontiff's decision to abdicate? >> there's no doubt they were very serious. he had a heart condition even before he was elected pope. he was -- he had difficulty with his heart. we know about the pacemaker. there are rumors, but nobody will advance that he has cancer as well. clearly we have to take him at his word, which is basically he doesn't have the energy and the stamina to be the pope. also, we have to keep in mind that he was elected as a caretaker pope. following john paul ii. that was a hard act to follow. they were looking for an elderly pontiff who would not be in position for that long and also there was no way anybody was going to top john paul ii in terms of charisma, in reaching out to the young, and, unfortunately, they didn't get a
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salgzman for catholicism in this particular pope, which will be a very important ingredient for the next one. >> he also had the burdens of dealing with the scandals after 27 years of john paul ii. he had to focus on the apology, the fact that he had actually met individually in his role as cardinal ratzinger investigating some of the problems of the abuse in the american church. >> he did go some way in terms of, you know, issuing an apology from the pope as a pretty lofty ideal, but, many of the, we still have a problem, many of the, worldwide with the sex scandal and the catholic church. they haven't addressed it at all levels. the vatican can pools. they can set lawsuits. there are a lot of damaged people out there who were basically abused as children, and no matter what he apologized for, it's almost as if his retirement now takes that off the stage and allows the next pope to move this a step
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further. there's a lot of reconciliation still to be achieved on that. he did not have an easy pontificate. he is a scholar. he is a man of incredible intelligence. a theologian. he is not -- the vatican has had very big difficulties in terms of the institution and who runs it and how they run it. it wasn't his fort yea. we should look for that in the next pope that's elected. >> perhaps there's no significance many it. it depends on your perspective, but let's take a look, all three of you, at this incredible picture from february 11th. the day when he was announcing the abdication when a bolt of lightning struck the vatican. chris and itched richard, you're there in rome, that must have been astounding to see this photo. chris, the reactions there? >> well, a lot of speculation what does that mean? >> is it a good thing or bad thing? i mean, is atha a good sign or bad sign? are people -- is that a happy
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divine intervention or bad one? there has been some debate about that. >> i think that you can say that having this for the first time sense the middle ages is kind of a bolt of lightning. everyone i've talked to, even insiders at the vatican were really shocked by this, and it leads to the next question. will we be shocked again by who the new pope is? will it be someone that is unexpected? will it be someone from latin america? could it be someone from africa or will it be from a place where the church is not as influential as it once was here in europe because even though europeans only make up about 25% of catholics worldwide, they're i think a little more than 50% of the voting cardinals in the college of cardinals, so this is going to be an absolutely fascinating one to watch. whether it will live up to the hype of being struck by lightning, i'm not sure. >> people have been talking about that. it's been tweeted all over the world. the question is was it a good sign or bad sign? you know, italians here are quite conspirit oral. >> not all are convinced that he
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can step down for health reasons. a lot of people are nudging themselves and saying, well, was there more to this story or not? some sort of sign of a divine sign. >> if they weren't saying that, it wouldn't be italy. >> yes. >> it has been noticed, yes. >> dually noted. chris and richard over there in rome, and keith, thank you very much for joining us on this side of the pond. how will the president now try to build support m state of the union for gun control? new york city police commissioner ray kelly joining us next. and we want to know your thoughts on our state of the nation, state of the union. here's my answer. challenge but hopeful. take a picture. submit it to us at facebook.com/msnbc or share it on twitter and insta gram with _#sotu. yo, give it up, dude! up high! ok. don't you have any usefull apps on that thing? who do you think i am, quicken loans? ♪
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speaking to a chamber filled with victims from gun violence, and joining us is new york city police commissioner ray kelly and commissioner kelly, thank you very much for taking the time. what do you want to hear from the president tonight about laws, changes in the laws that will actually help make people safer in new york city and other urban areas and around the country? >> well, i think they'll hear his agenda. we know it includes universal background checks. we know that we're looking for a ban on assault weapons and high capacity magazines, and to strengthen the databases, the national crime -- instant crime background check system. i think those three things we'll hear about. we heard about the scourge of gun violence, and the president will refer to newtown, the horrific event that is happened there in december. i had a meeting yesterday with the vice president, and that clearly was the topic of conversation.
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i think it's fair to say that the chiefs that were there certainly supported the president's agenda, and i know the new york city police department, mayor bloomberg, does as well. >> mayor bloomberg is actually putting his money behind this. his personal money, contributing to the campaign. gabby giffords, the new public service announcements. she will be there. at the same time there is such a big lobbying effort against new gun laws. do you feel that this is a moment that could pass, or is this going to be different this time? >> oh, i think certainly it's a moment that will pass, and i think that really was the theme of the discussion yesterday that time is of the essence. you continue to kick this can down the road. if it is kicked down the road, then i think you'll see the public interest wane. we know that there's been a little sea change in the country with the affect of what happened in newtown, but, yeah, we think
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that certainly could be lost, and what was discussed yesterday is getting it to the floor, getting it to the senate at least next month, and certainly the political folks agree it's very important to get a vote on the president's agenda as quickly as possible. >> should the president keep pushing for the assault weapon ban, or is that too heavy a lift, and should we focus instead on background checks and some of the things for which there is more consensus? >> folks in washington than certainly better than -- you have to look at what's possible, what's practical, but i don't see any logical need for assault weapons, no recreational need, and that was certainly something the president put forward. i think -- there's talk about it being a heavy lift, but i think it very much should be on the
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table as far as the president's proposal going forward. >> new york city had a record low of homicides in 2012 and hags are really the problem in new york city and other urban areas. what is your message to chicago to philadelphia, to other cities that have not been able to get to -- >> you know, each city is different. different culture, different demographics, but all we're doing in new york is working. we have very pro active enforcements. we have operation impact. in areas where we see a spike in shootings and violence. right now we're focussing on these gangs of wrung people that we believe are responsible for about 30% of our shootings. we have a whole new approach in place. we're using our attorneys. we're increasing our gang division. we're certainly monitoring
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social media very closely. it's been the treasure-trove of information for us, and that's working as well, but we would advise other cities. >> and, finally, to the victims of gun violence who were in the chamber tonight, what would you say in terms of giving them a sense that the law enforcement officials in this country, po politicians and the president are really committed to making something happen this time? >> well, i think we have seen a change. you can feel it. you can certainly read it in the media. people have been tweeting about it all the time. i think auz said before, this whole issue -- we have to push it now as best we kshgs and i think the victims can be a very important voice. their presence there tonight will be a strong message. it's time to act, and i think it will certainly be part of the president's mission tonight as
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well. >> ray kelly, thank you very much. thanks for joining us. >> and coming up next, the risks and rewards of tonight's big speech for the white house. you're watching andrea mitchell reports, only on msnbc. five days later, i had a massive heart attack. bayer aspirin was the first thing the emts gave me. now, i'm on a bayer aspirin regimen. [ male announcer ] be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin an aspirin regimen. [ woman ] learn from my story. a regular guy with an irregular heartbeat. the usual, bob? not today. [ male announcer ] bob has afib: atrial fibrillation not caused by a heart valve problem, a condition that puts him at greater risk for a stroke. [ gps ] turn left. i don't think so. [ male announcer ] for years, bob took warfarin, and made a monthly trip to the clinic to get his blood tested. but not anymore. bob's doctor recommended a different option: once-a-day xarelto®. xarelto® is the first and only once-a-day prescription blood thinner for patients with afib
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it's a big chance for the president to reach over the heads of congress and lay down his terms for a budget deal and other priorities. joining us now michael waldman who served as president clinton's chief speechwriter from 1995 until 1999 and is now the director of nyu's brennan center for justice, and anita dunn, former white house communications director and former advisor to then senator obama. welcome to both. thank you very much. anita, first to you. have you talked to people in the white house. the president's focus is jobs and the economy and laying out some terms of the budget deal. you also have to sort of paint broad strokes. this isn't the inaugural address. this is when it gets specific. what is the real goal here?
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>> thank you for having me on. you know, the president has addressed a joint session of congress seven times in his presidency, and each time the underlying piece of this has always been about the economy and middle class families and how do we get this country moving again with an economy that helps middle class families, and that's the predicate. that's really the story of his presidency. the state of the union is the opportunity to speak to the entire country as well as congress and to really lay out what your priorities are, and i think the president uses these occasions very well because you don't get the opportunity more than once a year. >> michael, what is the challenge from a speechwriter's perspective of how you think through and capture the voice of the person you are helping to craft the speech for? >> have you to find a way to
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talk about the ar contain details sometimes of policy, but have the voice of the president shine through. he is bringing together as we go these grand themes of american history, and he laid out quite a few important policy thoughts in that speech so he would have an opportunity to put some flesh on the boendz to lay out some details on things like immigration or voting rights where he talked about long lines and, you know, how that challenges our notion of ourselves as having a strong free and fair american democracy, and he can talk in detail about this. he shouldn't, i don't think, be afraid of the details. people actually at home, i think, kind of crave the chance to hear from their president, the person they elected bshgs what he wants to do. >> and to that point, what about being specific about the budget? we heard from gene sperling
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earlier on "morning joe" that he is xlitd to entitlements. the deal is still on the table. is he willing to do what john boehner today with reporters said he wasn't willing to do, which is have the guts to challenge his base and make some really tough decisions, call for some tough decisions on entitlements? >> well, i'm not going to speak for the president who is more than capable of speaking for himself tonight. i guess i find it ironic that john boehner would be talking about an unwillingness to challenge his base, if you look at the history of the last two years, and the white house's continual attempts to find common ground and really to find a brand bargain, a big fix, which, unfortunately, the congressional republicans have never been willing to really consider, but i think that this president has shown that perseverance and sticking to the task at hand is really one of his great strengths. you know, state of the unions are the story of america, and every year it's a time to take account of where we are and for
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the president to say where he thinks we need to go next. i think we need a mix of specifics, but you also need that vision, because people need to understand where it is we're going to get to if we put these things in place, and that's where the president has, i think, always been very strong in his speeches and giving us a sense of where he wants to lead this country. >> now, michael, what about the fact that the republicans have an official response, marco rubio, and we know that he is going to also tape the spanish version of his response. there's also the tea party response that we're going to get super senator ran paul. does that signal, again, that the republicans are still divided on how to approach some of these big issues? >> it sure does and it shows se power that the president has of speaking with one voice. looking at the election losses, the trends, looking at the degree to which some of the positions are out of step of popular sentiment, it makes big decisions about whether it
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changes and how it changes. i would be very interested to see what the president says on immigration, whether he reaches out to senator rubio and what senator rub owe says in response because that is one issue where both parties for their own reasons actually really want to get something done and the only way, of course, to do that is together. >> and in fact, anita, to that point, lindsey graham, john mccain have their own reasons for wanting some progress on immigration. marco rubio if he wants to run for president and we believe everyone has ambitions, would i think be in his interest to get this done now and a compromise behind him. >> i think it is in the interest of both political parties and for the nation to get this done now. however, michael's point about the fact that when it's bad enough having to do one response, andrea. i can tell you that as one on the other side and when you have a party that feels it's necessary to do two responses you have a seriously divided
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party with the challenge of trying to do something where you have such mainstream support from a john mccain, from a lindsey graham, from a marco rubio. it tells you how difficult this is going to be for the republicans to get this done. >> and for the president facing divided republican opposition. >> yes. >> thank you. we have to leave it there. good to see you. we'll be right back. [ male announcer ] truth is, nyquil doesn't unstuff your nose. what? [ male announcer ] alka-seltzer plus liquid gels speeds relief to your worst cold symptoms plus has a decongestant for your stuffy nose. thanks. that's the cold truth! bikes and balloons, and noodles on spoons. a kite, a breeze, a dunk of grilled cheese. catches and throws, and spaghettio's. a wand, some wings, soup with good things. sidewalks and doodles and wholesome noodles. puddles and pails and yes, puppy dog tails. for a lunch like this, there's a hug and a kiss.
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which political story will make headlines in 24 hours? chris cillizza, you know it's the state of the union and this afternoon, 2:45, armed services committee, the vote on chuck hagel. where do we stand on the filibuster threat? >> you know, it's something that people talk about and putting a hold and wants to know when the full vote would happen. these start sorts of things. john mccain has cautioned against it. i still -- i've said this multiple times. you and i have talked about this. i do not think it makes sense to
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filibuster chuck hagel. i think republicans are not in a position politically speaking to win that fight. >> thank you very much. chris cillizza, we'll be watching and watching tonight and that does it for this edition of "andrea mitchell reports." and my colleague tamron hall has a look at what's next. >> great to see you. will president obama persuade congress in the state of the union address to do something big in his second term? joining me live, congressman chris van hollen and former white house speechwriter john lubbock. plus, the white house confirms president obama made a last-minute adjustment to the speech to respond to north korea's third nuclear test conducted overnight. we're also following developing news. first vote on chuck hagel's nomination to be the next defense secretary happening within the hour. 45 minutes after the hour. we'll bring it to you live. and i have diabetic nerve pain. i felt like my feet were going to sleep.
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tv
Andrea Mitchell Reports
MSNBC February 12, 2013 10:00am-11:00am PST

News/Business. Interviews with political figures with host Andrea Mitchell. New.

TOPIC FREQUENCY North Korea 12, Marco Rubio 7, John Boehner 6, Rome 6, Mike Allen 5, Andrea Mitchell 5, Rubio 5, Vatican 5, New York City 5, North Koreans 5, Lyrica 5, Ray Kelly 4, Mitch Mcconnell 4, Chuck Hagel 3, Warfarin 3, U.n. 3, John Mccain 3, China 3, Washington 3, Keith Miller 2
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